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and of which, let me add, that had they resulted in the unmin. gled prosperity of the country, instead of in its present depressed and disastrous condition, they would have no less deserved the rebuke and condemnation of a free people, - it was these arbitrary and tyrannical acts, and the gentleman cannot have forgotten it, which called back into political service the old appellations of Whig and Tory. And by these measures, and not by any abstract opinions upon currency or credit, is the propriety of those appellations to be determined.
But the Maysville Veto was a self-denying ordinance, the gentleman tells us. This is a new name, certainly, for an exercise of that high kingly prerogative. But it is a good name notwithstanding, Sir, and I thank the gentleman for teaching me its use. A self-denying ordinance! Where did that phraseology come from, and what did it originally designate? The self-denying ordinance, Mr. Chairman, was the first of those subtle and hypocritical pieces of policy by which Oliver Cromwell ultimately obtained the mastery of the British Empire. It was an ordinance by which every body was denied but himself, and every will but his own will. And the Maysville Veto, too, was the first in that series of vetoes by which the will of General Jackson obtained supremacy in this Union, and by which the will of the people has been so frequently and fatally denied and nullified. Certainly, Sir, it was a self-denying ordi
And the veto of Mr. Clay's Land Bill was another. And the veto of the Massachusetts Interest Bill was another. And the veto of the Bank Charter was another. And the veto of the Bill repealing the Treasury Order was another. Selfdenying ordinances all, Sir, and worthy of going down to posterity on the same page with their great original. And a pretty ample page they would require. It is a well known fact that General Jackson resorted to this self-denying process at least twice, and I rather think, three times as often, during his single administration, as all our other Presidents together. Indeed, this sort of self-denial has been his leading characteristic through lise, and hence, doubtless, even his private mansion has always been denominated the Hermitage !
And then, Mr. Chairman, the ways and means by which this
self-denial has been manifested! What shifts and subtleties, what tricks and contrivances have been left untried, by which the just and constitutional responsibility of a veto could be evaded or avoided! In some cases, we know, no reasons at all have been rendered, but the objectionable bill has been permanently withheld from the further action of Congress. In other instances, the veto message has been sent to a different Congress from that which passed the bill. And in still another instance, the bill, instead of being returned to Congress with the objections of the President, was sent to the office of the Secretary of State with the objections of the Attorney-General. And then that Veto-Extraordinary and Message-Plenipotentiary the Protest-despatched to the National Senate on the passage of a resolution declaring " that in the late Executive proceedings in relation to the public revenue, the President has assumed a power not conferred by the Constitution and laws, but in derogation of both.” That doubtless was a self-denying ordinance also! Its pointed rebuke and proscription of the four members who held their seats, as much more than four of the administration members of the Senate now hold theirs, in opposition to the latest declaration of the will of their constituents, where will a precedent be found for that proceeding since Charles the First complained to the House of Commons of John Hampden and the rest, or, certainly, since Cromwell himself gave leave of absence to an uncomplying Parliament? Its extraordinary declaration that the President himself was the only direct representative of the American people, — where will a precedent be found for such a doctrine as that, since Louis XIV. exclaimed, “ I am the State ?" Its final and legitimate consummation, by which the Journals of the Senate were mutilated, and the obnoxious resolution expunged, — where has there been such a prostitution of the public records to the will of an Executive, since James the First tore out an offensive vote of the Commons with his own hand ? · I repeat, Mr. Chairman, that it was these arbitrary and tyrannical doctrines, these arrogant assumptions of powers not granted, these outrageous abuses of powers granted, this consolidation of all departments into one department, and this
subjection of all wills to one will, which revived throughout the Union the old Revolutionary designations of political parties. And unless the friends of the national administration shall disa. vow and denounce these doctrines and these deeds to which I have referred, or unless they shall expunge, not one, but all of them — not from a mere Legislative Journal only, but from the pages of history, and the memory of man, — however they may wince and writhe under the odious title which has attached to them, they will in vain essay to shake it off. They must stand for Tories still.
Mr. Chairman, I am glad the gentleman from Gloucester has seen fit to raise this issue. It has not only given me an opportunity to set matters right on this head, but has afforded me an opening for giving expression to a sentiment which I have deeply felt during the past year, and with which I will conclude these remarks. I need hardly say, Sir, that I do not under-estimate the calamities in which the late crisis has involved the country. But great as they have been and still are, as often as I have reviewed the high-handed Executive acts of which I have spoken, I have come to this deliberate and solemn conclusion, — that if the redemption of the country from such usurpation and misrule could have been purchased at no other price than this crisis and these calamities, it would still have been purchased cheap. My honorable friend from Charlestown, (Mr. Austin,) remarked the other day that he never would play the part of the strong man at Gaza, and pull down the pillars of the public prosperity, in order to effect the downfall of his political adversaries. I cordially concur with him, Sir, in that patriotic sentiment. I would not have produced one jot or tittle of ex. isting sufferings for any political effect, nor would I now protract them one hour or moment for such a purpose. I hold it to be the duty of us all, as citizens and as legislators, to do all in our power, without distinction of party, to bring about a restoration of prosperity, and particularly a resumption of pay. ments. But looking upon the crisis as a thing already existing, and in the production of which I, at least, had no part or agency, I say again, that if the political redemption of the country could have been procured at no other or lower rate, I would still have had it purchased at this rate, and would still have gladly paid my full proportion of its price. Sir, I rejoice in the self-vindicating power of the Constitution, which this crisis has displayed, – I repeat it, Mr. Chairman, THE SELF-VINDICATING POWER OF THE ConstituTION, — for that seems to me the very key and index of the whole catastrophe. The first object and operation of the Constitution was to revive a prostrate commerce, to restore a fallen credit, to raise up a depreciated and still sinking currency. And was it not entirely fit and appropriate that commerce, and currency, and credit, should give signs and warnings, when that Constitution was violated and trampled upon, by their own depression and downfall? For myself, I thank my God that it has been so. I
him that the public prosperity may never survive the public liberty. I pray him that whenever that liberty may be menaced, whenever the Constitution assailed, whenever the wide arch of this glorious Republic in danger of falling, the people, the whole people, may be roused up to the rescue, if in no other way, by their own sufferings and distresses! THE VOTES OF INTERESTED MEMBERS
À DECISION PRONOUNCED IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF MASSA
CHUSETTS, FEBRUARY 19, 1840.
A Bill to increase the capital stock of the Boston and Sandwich Glass Company being under consideration, and Mr. Church, of Westport, having moved an amendment in the following terms:-—"The private property of the Corporation, or Stockholders for the time being, and of those who shall be stockholders at the time when any debt shall be contracted, shall be holden for the payment of such debt, and may be taken therefor on any execution issued against the Corporation for such debt, in the same manner as on executions issued against them for individual debts. Any Stockholder who shall pay any debt of the Corporation for which he is made liable, by this Act, shall have the same remedies for the recovery of the amount so paid, or any part thereof, as is provided in the 32d Sec. of the 38th Chap. of the Revised Statutes ;” and the yeas and nays having been taken on this amendment, Mr. Allen, of Northfield called upon the Speaker to disallow the votes of Messrs. Safford and Quincy, of Boston, and of Mr. Baker, of Dorchester, as being Stockholders in the Corporation, and as being therefore precluded from voting, under the fourteenth rule of the 2d chapter of the Rules and Orders, which is as follows:
“No member shall be permitted to vote, or serve on any Committee, in any question where his private right is immediately concerned, distinct from the public interest."
The Speaker decided that those gentlemen did not come within the meaning of the rule, and declined excluding them from the count. From this decision Mr. Allen ap. pealed, and thereupon the Speaker stated his reasons as follows:
Tue SPEAKER said that he had already remarked to the House that the point which had been raised by the gentleman from Northfield was by no means a new one to him. During the first session in which he had the honor to occupy the chair of the House, he was twice called on to decide it. On both of those occasions he spared no pains in examining the authorities and precedents on the subject; on both of them he had the satisfaction to arrive at a clear and unhesitating conviction in